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Pucon, Chile. 13.4.15

April 13, 2015

Camp Santa Clara. Niebla, Chile 10.4.15

It was good to find a camp site that had the three essentials: hot water, wifi and electricity.  The first time in two months. As we head north the third isn’t as important as it is becoming warmer and the mains heater is an indulgence. It was sadly missed further south when the chill factor from the winds was more extreme.

Niebla is a few kilometres from the city of Valdivia which was built on the confluence of three large rivers. As has been the case the campsite marked on the Garmin in the city was a non event and it was case of heading to the coast and keeping an eye out. On the way was the major brewery in the south, Cerveceria Kuntsmann where 10 styles of German beers can be sampled. I think they will have to change their name if they want to export to English speaking countries. A visit tomorrow sounds in order.

After leaving Puerto Montt, apart from the national parks, the country was rolling land, populated by dairy and beef herds , neat houses, as could be expected for an area settled by Germanic stock. Kuchen signs are regularly seen along side the road and for a while there, when we stopped for lunch, I was sure I could hear the strains of Tyrolean yodelling but it was just a bird.

The Dog Refuge Near Lican Ray. 30kms from Villaricca. 11.4.15

The sea lions in the vicinity of Valdivia know when they’re onto a good thing. The city has a bustling fish market on the banks of the Rio Valdivia and much of the scraps from the filleting is thrown into the river. Why bust your gut chasing fish and chance being breakfast for an Orca when you can be lazing around on a pontoon especially placed for you and let tourists throw fish to you. This right in the middle of the city. We enjoyed Valdivia. It has a very good anthropological museum, lovely coastline and the lively marke. Before leaving Niebla this morning we visited the Spanish port built on the northern headland of Bahia Corral. Valdivia that lies 220kms inland, was never attacked by the British unlike so many other Spanish ports mainly due to the twelve forts and batteries that covered the entrance to the river complex. It would have been suicidal even to have tried entering.

It was a short days drive today, some 220 kms to where we are now metres from the shore of Largo Calafquen. It was getting frustrating, ever camp site we tried was closed and the time nearing 7pm. Finally we hit this one that had closed, but Lewis, the owner took pity on us and opened it up for us. Driving into the place we had second thoughts. Greeting us was a cacaphony of barking dogs. Some thirtynine we learnt. Lewis takes strays in and looks after them. During the summer when his camp site is in operation he farrms them out. Barking dogs and running a tourism business would not bode well for the profitability of the enterprise. But they have calmed down, I don’t think ear plugs will be called for. Lewis is a professor who attended university in Berlin. He has taught in quite a few Chilean universities. A camp ground and cabanas are his second life he says. He would be in his mid 70s

Dog Refugio. 12.4.15

There are a couple of things we have found hard to get used to on this trip. One that affects us every day is the lateness of it getting light in the morning. Even at 8am it is only just lightening up. Both Chile and Argentina don’t have daylight saving so in the middle of the winter it must be worse still. I think Chile at least is on the wrong time zone. It makes it very easy to lie in when you need to get going. The other thing is not being able to put toilet paper down the WC. We are used to it now but it did take a while.  There are buckets next to the loo to dispose of the paper. This is the situation with every country visited so far. Camp Santa Clara was the first time there have been signs saying it’s OK to flush the paper. Who ever set up their sewerage systems took the easy way out.

The Villaricca volcano is only a few kilometres from where we are. It has calmed down after the devastation caused last month and all the action at the moment seems to be a plume of smoke rising and being pushed westwards. At the last toll plaza on the Carratera Austral they handed us an evacuation pamphlet on what to do it if it erupts again. Every township has signs for evacuation in case of further eruption dangers. The same as on the west coast. There are signs in every urban area what to do in case of a tsunami and where are the secure areas.  Just shows how unstable many parts of Chile are.

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From → Patagonia 2015

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